Couture Musings

2018 COUTURE Design Awards Flashback!

While we recognize that COUTURE 2018 wrapped weeks ago, and we’re back in the swing of things (and already looking ahead to next year!), internally, we all keep reflecting on what an incredible night we all had at our 2018 COUTURE Design Awards. The venue was amazing (again!), the award nominees and recipients were all so full of excitement and energy, we got to see Gannon in drag….(no, really!).  So in case you were unfortunate enough to miss out on the evening’s festivities, here’s a quick re-cap of 5 things you’re really sorry you missed. Let this serve as your save-the-date for next year’s COUTURE Design Awards:

1. The Venue:

For the second year in a row, we held the COUTURE Design Awards in the Encore Theater. People, this is the theater in which Beyoncé once performed. The same theater that will soon play host to Diana Ross, Anita Baker and The Moody Blues. This is a legit theater! And we got to take it over. On a Saturday night!

So after cocktails from 6:30 to around 7:15, the crowds streamed in and took their places for our brief presentation. Which started with the next thing you totally missed out on….

2. The Show Open Video:

This year’s show open video was arguably the best we’ve had to date! It featured our five Design Awards judges looking formidable (we’re still not over that arched eyebrow on Will Kahn from Town&Country!), a number of designers who were either type-cast or whatever the opposite of type-cast is (I’m looking at you, Morris from Bayco!), our fearless leader Gannon Brousseau, and everyone’s favorite Retailer Liaison, Jan Mohr. You can see the show open video, as well as the entire Design Awards presentation, here.

Speaking of videos, that brings us to our next reason for anyone who didn’t make it to be feeling some serious FOMO….

3. The Cindy Edelstein Award:

This year’s Cindy Edelstein Award was given to Paul Schneider, owner of Portland, OR-based retailer, Twist. As with all recipients, Paul was unaware that he was receiving this honor. We had our photographer focused on Paul as the screens filled up with designers, industry insiders and his own daughter, Sasha, talking about what a mentor he is and how deserving he is of the honor.

You can watch the video that introduced Paul here. After taking the stage, Paul gave an emotional speech, crediting his wife with their success, “Everybody actually knows that the creative energy and the power of our store is Lauren, my wife, who is very shy. She is the buyer, she’s an inspired buyer, she buys from her heart. We love beautiful things. We met in college when she was a weaver and I was a potter. And our life has been devoted to making beautiful things, and the people that make beautiful things. That’s what we do, and that’s what we always want to do. And we don’t sell on consignment. We buy everything. Thank you.”

In between the show opening and the Cindy Edelstein Awards, the short program included a number of funny, fun and emotional speeches from winners, and, a big moment where we all got to see…

4. Gannon in Drag:

If you took a moment to watch the aforementioned show opening video, you’ll see that we spent some time focusing on just how heavy the actual design award is. We ordered them before last year’s show, and we loved how they resembled the light boxes in our entry halls. But when we received them in the office we were completely blindsided by how heavy they are! We went back and forth for days last year, weighing (ha, pun intended!) the costs and benefits of sticking with a great looking statue that many might struggle to hold on to, and getting something less heavy that we loved less. After a lot of contemplation about possible broken toes from people trying to lift their statues, we decided to stick with our original concept, albeit with a lot of warning in advance. To prove a point that Jan’s struggle to carry the awards all night while wearing a dress and heels wasn’t actually an enormous struggle, Gannon came out with The People’s Choice Award….in a dress and heels!

(You can see his grand entry at around minute 35 in the full video.) After all that fun, we moved back into the concessions area for our first ever…

5. COUTURE Design Awards After Party!

Several of us have been pushing for this event for years! The energy in the room is so abundant it’s contagious! The people who won awards in their respective categories are over the moon with excitement, and they’re being enthusiastically feted by designers, friends and retailers who support them; nobody wants the party to end! So this year, it didn’t end. We had a full selection of food, both savory and sweet (by way of a donut wall!), and of course, plenty more drinks. A good time was had by all! And nobody had to scramble for a last minute dinner reservation on a Saturday night in Las Vegas.

The COUTURE Design Awards is officially a not-to-be-missed event! Cocktails start around 6:30, the program starts around 7:15, and then just after 8pm, we re-convene for more celebrations. So save the date for next year’s COUTURE Design Awards….who knows what tricks we have up our sleeves?! Saturday, June 1, 2019 at the Encore Theater! 






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Michelle Orman

Michelle Orman

Michelle Orman is the president of Last Word Communications, which spearheads the public relations for the COUTURE show. A 15+ year veteran of the COUTURE community, Michelle is obsessed with all things jewelry and watch related! To be included in COUTURE Musings, email Michelle at

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